Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is a drug used for treating cold or allergy symptoms such as itching, sneezing, watery eyes or runny nose. The drug is also prescribed for preventing the symptoms of hay fever and also to treat swelling and itching caused by chronic urticaria.

An antihistamine, Cetirizine works by reducing histamine, a natural chemical in the body that causes symptoms of itching, sneezing, watery eyes or runny nose.

The drug has to be taken only as per your doctor’s direction. It is advised not to take the drug in larger amounts or for longer periods as it can increase the risk of side effects. Cetirizine can be taken with food or in empty stomach. Cetirizine is a chewable tablet and has to be completely chewed before it is swallowed.

You have to tell your doctor about all your health history before he prescribes Cetirizine. Tell him if you have any allergies to any particular food, medicine or any substance. As Cetirizine interacts with other medications, you have to inform your doctor about all the prescription and non-prescription drugs that you are taking before he prescribes the drug.

Cetirizine is a FDA pregnancy category B, which means that the drug is not known to be harmful to the unborn babe. Even then you have to discuss with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy. Cetirizine may also pass into breast milk and so only go for nursing after discussing with your doctor about the risks to your babe while breast-feeding.